The premiere release from Film Masters—the new vintage film restoration and distribution company, launched in June by industry veteran and film historian Phil Hopkins—is a two-disc collection featuring cult favourite The Giant Gila Monster with bonus film The Killer Shrews, which were originally released as a double-feature, drive-in bill in 1959.
The classic era of drive-in schlock was near its end at the time, but there remained a dedicated audience for this pair of no-budget howlers from director Ray Kellogg and producer Gordon McLendon.
The Giant Gila Monster (from a new 4k scan of 35mm, original film elements): When two teens disappear from a small Texas town, the locals think they’ve eloped. But soon it becomes clear that something much more sinister is afoot. And if a giant Gila monster isn’t enough for you, there are plenty of cool cars and some ersatz rock ‘n’ roll sung by star Don Sullivan (The Monster of Piedras Blancas).
The Killer Shrews (new HD-restored version): Starring James Best (The Dukes of Hazard), Ken Curtis (Gunsmoke) and Ingrid Goude (Miss Universe 1957), a riverboat pilot and a small group of passengers find themselves stranded by a hurricane on a remote island where a population of shrews the size of German shepherds are voracious.
The Giant Gila Monster and The Killer Shrews are offered in theatrical aspect ratio of 16×9, as well as in 4×3 ratio, on region-free discs with DTS-HD sound (Blu-ray) and Dolby AC3s sound (DVD).
BONUS MATERIALS: Ray Kellogg: An Unsung Master, a Ballyhoo Motion Pictures documentary written by C. Courtney Joyner and narrated by Larry Blamire; an archival interview with star, Don Sullivan, conducted by author Bryan Senn in 2009; full commentary of The Giant Gila Monster by Larry Strothe, James Gonis, Shawn Sheridan and Matt Weinhold from The Monster Party podcast; full commentary of The Killer Shrews by professor and film scholar Jason A. Ney; original, vintage radio, marketing spots for both features, provided by Gary L. Prange; and a full-color, inserted booklet with essays by Don Stradley and Jason A. Ney.